Mamapumpkin???

I love green Once upon a time, she designed buildings and interiors of corporate offices and on the rare occasion, homes. Now, she cleans poop and is student of a patience management course. From the drawing board as a London Architect to the realities of Motherhood, she has certainly learned many lessons in humility. And then others.....

To succeed in the corporate world, first succeed with your kid as the happy boss. Seriously.

I love green

This blog is about Mamapumpkin: A crazy, kick-ass Mom who works full time juggling several jobs - the full-time paid job, the raising of her 2 kids (she gets paid in kind for this) and the volunteering job for various charity organisations and parenting websites. Needless to say, she gets very little sleep (3-5 hours per day, Margaret Thatcher who used to sleep 4 hours per day during her conservative career inspires this crazy lifestyle).

Mamapumpkin intends to change the working Mom landscape in Malaysia where working women can bring their children to the corporate office of a client and not be frowned upon.

I love green

She writes anything that comes out of her head, mostly without thinking first (since she already has to think at work!), which almost ALWAYS gets her into trouble (according to her husband, whom she considers the love of her life on a good day).

Her 2 pet monkeys drive her towards challenge after challenge, 24/7.....day after day.....and interestingly, her parents are Muslim, her in-laws Buddhist, she's Catholic and her Hubs, an Atheist. She's thinking her kids should be Hindu, just to complete the rainbow religion cycle.

Gotta love it.

She'd love to hear from you : Mamapumpkin at gmail dot com


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Life without a maid

Life without a maid has been good and bad. At first, we went through sadness, then shock, then denial and numbness, then we became pro-active and now, we’re coping. Yeah…..although the home looks akin to a land fill from Cambodia, the kids are still alive and we have no cockroaches or creepy crawlies in sight yet. And although the mess is so bad that you would imagine a snake living under all that clutter, we are still surviving. I am slowly but surely getting rid of STUFF. First out, the toys…..oh, yes. I am emotionless when it comes to toys. We keep the doll house and the Lego and some dollies and cooking for T2′s sake but beyond that, I hold no sentiments over their play things. My true calling believes that children do not need toys at all. AT ALL. Sorry, ToysRus and Hamley’s. I am getting rid of all our toys and I am not buying new toys. NO. NO MORE.

I will buy books but not toys. I may buy jigsaw puzzles but not toys. I may buy board games. You get the drift. Heck, for the Unschooling in T1, she’s designed her own board game, so seriously do you think she would have had the initiative to do that had she been at school and had lots of readily available entertainment on hand? I don’t think so.

My day now consists of waking up at 7am, I do some reading for half an hour till the entire household wakes then make breakfast. Whilst at breakfast, I already start work by going through my work emails and responding via phone as necessary. After breakfast, wash up, house chores for an hour then exercise. Before I can barely squeeze much work in, I’m due to prepare lunch. I work and multi-task wherever I can, whilst waiting for pasta to boil, whilst in the toilet, whilst the kids are finishing up their lunch…..After lunch wash up is when I really get a chance to work proper without interruption. Kids then get up to their own play agendas and I work till 5pm when I start thinking about dinner. Whilst I cook, they have their showers and after shower, it’s dinner time. Whilst they eat, I am still working and I work right through till 8pm when I start chasing them to brush their teeth. The Hubs will roll in about 9-10pm and does the dinner dishes after his solo dinner. He also puts the kids to bed after his shower if I am not feeling up to it. It is a 30 minute job which can potentially turn out to be a 2 hour nightmare. Thus I hate bedtime with kids. I wish there just was a remote control OFF button so at 8pm every night, I could just go BEEP!!! And silence will envelope my being…….

No such luck.

So I continue with every day life working right through to midnight or beyond. Usually till 2am, my standard time, he time that I can no longer stay awake. Some days I work less and catch up with laundry or whatever it is that requires catching up on. I have lowered my cleanliness standards much but what choice do I have. Until we decide what exactly it is we want, I will continue to be the maid. Plus we are off on holiday soon so not much point in starting a new routine only to be broken.

But you know what? I love life without a maid. Somehow it’s liberating. I know exactly where stuff is now. I know exactly what I have and I know when food is starting to run out and exactly what I need to buy. No wastage. Zero. I’ll bet our food and water bill will see a dip real soon. That surely must be good news. The kids are also learning to be responsible. T2 has started carrying her crockery into the kitchen after she’s done. Tonight was funny because she carried a bowl of unfinished MISO soup to the kitchen but half way, Daddy appeared and she forgot she was carrying the bowl of soup and jumped up in excitement.

SPLASH!! All over herself……

She started bawling her eyeballs out because she is not one to like being dirty. There was also fear I assume that Daddy might yell at her for doing something so silly but nay, how could he? He would never do that. It was an accident and no matter how much we tried convincing her that it was just an accident and that we still loved her heaps, she continued to cry……

Until I offered her some chocolate mint cupcakes.

Children’s Book Review: Maxilla by Lianne Ong

Children’s Book Review: Maxilla by Lianne Ong

I am honoured to be doing the book reviews of some local children’s authors as I myself wanted to become a children’s book author not too long ago. Somehow, that still hasn’t happened and suddenly, so many Asian women have now done it. Very proud of them. They have my full support.

Children’s Book Review: Maxilla by Lianne Ong

I asked my 9 year old to read Maxilla by Lianne Ong then asked her what she thought about it. She said it was a very good book if a child was interested in Science. Interesting review from a kid :-)

So what if the child is not interested in Science? I asked…..

Then it’s still an interesting book, just that one would be even more interested in it should one be passionate about Science.

OK, daughter.

What do I myself have to say about Maxilla, the book?

I think it’s a lovely book that is thoughtfully written and explores these factors:

1. The metamorphosis of a butterfly

2. To love and to let go

3. Parenting styles

4. Keeping pets

5. Exploring the details in writing style

6. Beautiful illustrations that go so well with the details

7. The two sides to a story

Children’s Book Review: Maxilla by Lianne Ong

Maxilla is the story of a boy who finds a caterpillar and brings it home as a pet. As the days go by, he grows to love his pet more and more as he cares for it and learns all there is to learn about it. But one day, he learns that he has to release his pet in order for it to survive. His mom gently suggests the same but the ache in his heart to let his pet go is tragic.

What I liked about the end of the book was the voice of Maxilla, the caterpillar. His side of the story. However, I would have preferred it if he had made reference to his once upon a time owner.

It is something to ponder how you would deal with your child when the day comes when he has to deal with such pain. My own daughter had been there at the tender age of 3. She was upset because her good friend had dumped her for another. It took her days, weeks even, to start seeing rainbows and stars again. These days at 9 should she get dumped by a friend, she’s able to take it more in stride. Everything happens for a reason and it is much better to have loved and lost than to not loved at all.

In terms of how we approach our children as parents, Maxilla’s owner’s mother could have very abruptly instructed him to let the caterpillar go without explanation. Just do as I say or……..which is still a norm in many Asian households, believe it or not. Or worse, she could have simply taken it away herself or killed it! Or she could have told him a lie? So many ways to skin a cat, really, so which approach is best?

Children of pets are statistically known to become more responsible adults from the sheer practice of caring for a livelihood. That doesn’t go to say that children who do not have pets don’t care. Yet, having a pet really does raise the consciousness of a child in being responsible for another life. Some children feel more, some less; nevertheless, a worthy experience to own a pet at some point of a child’s life. Knowing my T2, she’d probably just kill the pet! *sigh* T1, on the other hand, has done extremely well in caring for a fish that lived an entire year whilst her classmates’ fish all dies within the month or two.

As I am a writer (a self-proclaimed one, no doubt), I am critical when I read with my mind analytically dissecting a piece of work in all directions. Sometimes I wish I could just read blindly but I cannot. It has been ingrained and trained, my brain, to analyse every possibility, every thought, every emotion, every outcome. Shish. The good thing about it is I make a good business strategist and for that, can be in demand *wink*.

As a designer, I am also graphically aware of what works and what doesn’t so yes, Maxilla’s illustrations are gentle and feathery, exhibiting the gentleness and calmness of the story as opposed to let’s say, strong, bold colours as in Maisy the Mouse’s bright personality. Both work and both apt in their relevant context, so good job Maxilla’s illustrator. I love the details in the colouring, so much patience and love. LOVE!!!

There are always two sides to a story and this is what the human race fail at most. Many people equate 1 + 1 = 2 when the reality of the world actually is much more abstract. 1+1= 3-1 or 10/5 or 2×1 or you get the drift. Just because someone said something or did something does not mean he ________________*fill in the blanks*. There are so many possibilities. Assume and you make an ass of yourself.

Children’s Book Review: Maxilla by Lianne Ong

So yes, 7 pointers of discussion within a children’s storybook makes it a loaded book and I wonder if that was the author’s intention. Let’s start discussing then!

T1′s HomeSchooling journey in February

To be quite honest, T1′s homeschooling journey in February has dwindled from homeschooling to unschooling to just pissing about at home. I’m not sure if that is positive or not. Seriously, if you choose to homeschool your child, you really need to be disciplined enough to monitor their progress and as for me, well, I’m just too busy and cannot be bothered. Do my kids really need to be learning from books all the time? Are they learning anything from their full days of play?

It’s hard being a parent, I tell ya!

If you want to read about our Homeschooling Journey in January, this is how we first started.

Although we started with good intentions, a solid timetable filled with serious stuff just to keep on track and keep up with the school curriculum, all that has gone pissing out the window. T1 spent all of February not following the timetable at all and falling far, far behind academically from her school peers in terms of pages in the text book. The only serious stuff she does these days are attending her language classes and doing some Maths at least half the week. Well almost.  I insist. Especially since she detests Math though I’m not sure why. It’s not like she does too bad in it at all with an A for the last 4-5 years of her schooling life.

For T1′s homeschooling journey in February, she performed the following tasks:-

1. Attended a Namaste Market hosted by Sun Yoga KL where kids came together to barter their goods. T1 did not prepare for it at all so at the very last minute, she brought a stack of Lego discount cards that she’d been collecting from old milk cartons for ages to trade. I was so embarrassed because I was thinking who the heck would want these freebies and was annoyed at her for not putting any effort at all into the activity. But heck, the girl shocked me by coming home with a big stash of stuff! Books, jewellery, gadgets, a plant! She even managed to get some stuff for her sister! Hello Kitty packet tissues!! I was amazed and it taught me that truly, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It was a great experience for her to witness that first hand but now at the 2nd Namaste Market, she is still intending to bring Lego discount tickets! Gosh. I told her she would not get 2nd time lucky.

2. We attended 2 Chinese New Year Open Houses within a day and got into the CNY spirit with Ang Pows and praying to the Gods. Enjoyed her time with my in-laws staying over here in KL.

3. She tested her fingers at planting herbs and vegetables but we are yet to decide if her fingers are green or not. She sprouted some wheat grass successfully all in our tummies now. She killed her aubergine plant by over-watering it. She is now caring for a basil plant and has a host of new pots for new plant projects. Amah’s giant Choy Sum seeds are doing well so far at 3 inches tall *silently praying that it becomes a success so we can have organic home grown veg in our tummies!*

4. She went for a walk in the garden with an agriculturist (my Dad!) and learnt every single plant outdoors in our garden below. They plucked some leaves and brought them home to be viewed under the microscope. Dammit, my girl now knows way more about plants than me. She can even name some of the plants, such as Frangipani without the flowers. First hand lesson from the pro, how blessed indeed.

5. She attended her first History Co-op with a group of fellow homeschoolers and had a ball of a time playing with the boys. She learnt how to twirl a light sabre and learnt how to fight with one – the proper way. Fuah!!! Real proud of my girl, I am.

6. We made a visit to the National Museum with the History Co-op! Seriously, I cannot remember the last time I stepped in the museum and it must’ve been something like more than 20 years ago but because of T1, we got off our asses and went. Well, I’m pretty glad we did because although I expected cobwebs, there were actually some interesting exhibits to observe. The kids ran around, coloured on the floor, chit-chatted with each other, I don’t know how much Malaysian History actually went into their heads but……. …when questioned, T1 did learn something from the museum and that was Malaysian Independence. She’d watched the video of Malaya getting independence.

7. From that museum visit, the kids were made to draw out their visit, how they felt, what they saw, what they thought, etc. In order to be different, T1 built a Lego piece and made a soldiers in war model. She is to present her work at the next co-op meeting.

8. She worked 9 hours helping Aunty Jacq (founder of Sun Yoga) prepare for 400 bottles of pure organic juice for a juice fast. She scraped pumpkin seeds off pumpkin shells, juiced fresh celery, plucked Moringa from their stems, etc. Proud of my girl. She now knows the entire mechanics that goes behind the preparatory works of a juice fast.

9. She read a lot of story books last month since she didn’t do much studying……..Mommy was too busy to kick her ass. Her reading is very good but her writing is not so good. Sigh.

10. She practised how to draw the African and Australian map by heart following on from her first month’s goal to place animals and plants on every continent, which by the way, has not happened yet. Just saying….

11. She went on several playdates and had tons of fun as expected.

12. She baked her first successful butter cake under the guidance of a great friend of mine who bakes THE BEST butter cakes in the whole wide world. You will be remembered for life, Ipoh girl.

I really cannot remember what else she has done over the last month and I cannot find her diary (Ssshhhh…..) so that about sums up T1′s homeschooling journey in February for now. I myself have been very busy planning and researching for our educational trip further along the year. I am also leaving KL for a week this week for work. It has been really busy and I keep coming back to my centre asking myself why I have not slowed down. But I have. It has slowed down by 500 times!!! It’s just that I was even way more crazy busy before!!! I’m actually real good now. Busy but good busy…..which is always better than having nothing to do. Onwards to March, folks!

How to Beat Procrastination

How to beat procrastination? Huh. Hahaha. I am actually the last person in Kuala Lumpur to tell you that because I am sat here at 2.20am in the morning when I started at exactly 10pm with the intention of clearing my desk. But instead of clearing my desk, the mind decided to work out the household expenses first. Spent an hour doing that and discovered that we spend just way too much as a family and am very aware now to CUT.

Yes, we have to CUT. Chop. Chop. Chop. CUT. With an AXE.

I have no idea how but it’s got t happen somehow. I just have to keep being focused. Especially when it isn’t one of my strengths, being focused, can you tell?

So I did the household expenses which is a good thing. At least we know where we stand and we closed the accounts for 2013. I also got great news this year, just yesterday actually. I think people have been praying for me. My friends, my Mom, who knows? But DEFINITELY, I know that there are people out there praying for me. Because good things are always happening to me. I’m like WTF, I don’t even deserve this. Stop it! So I have to continue my giving crusade because why else does God give me so much? So I can give more quite obviously…….

Where were we?

Oh. Desk clearing. Only 1 foot of paper, not too bad. I measured as well. 11.7 inches to be exact. Then I did my work expenses instead. Now, THAT was a challenge especially when numbers aren’t exactly my strength. I don’t know why. I think I am not only Dyslexic but definitely suffer from Dyscalculia. Yet I got an A for Math and English. Go figure. I did not cheat. It must’ve been that Heavenly Man helping me again. Because seriously, I mix up my words, am lousy at English, and even lousier with Math. And because I cannot balance the accounts of a more complicated sum of numbers, I have put it on hold. Only for the 5th time in the last 3 months. I think my company probably owes me close to RM10,000 by now.

So whilst my eyes are getting sleepy and droopy, I am nowhere near clearing my desk because in between, we facebook and read up about our impending trip abroad, we book our helper’s flight back home and book the whole family’s time to see her off, cancel all T1′s classes that morning, eat a Kit Kat (WHAT!!!!), reminisce about the happy youth, dream of having that hot body, discuss with the Hubs how we will survive a month without a helper, you know, that kind of thing. We do everything except clear my desk. And I had plans to go down to Ikea tomorrow to get inspired after a job well done. Chis!

Seriously now, how does one beat procrastination? I need a 101 course in How to Beat Procrastination.

First and foremost, you need to make a promise to yourself and that is to complete ONE TASK. Then you perform that task diligently till it ends before starting another task. The Hubs is very good at this but I cannot. My brain is simply not wired that way. I’m a multi-tasker. Always have been. BUT FOCUS I MUST!!!

I discovered that there are even articles written about how to beat procrastination, no kidding. So there you go!

I suppose I should allow a treat for myself. Tell myself that once this little task is done and dusted, I can XXXXX whatever treat I want to treat myself with. *now thinking of what I can treat myself with to start clearing the paper on my desk instead of blogging here*

I have no freaking idea. I have everything already. That is the bloody problem. It is now 2.45am.

One really good way of course, which is what got me here in the first place is to get yourself a project manager. This could come in the form of a really good friend who is willing to whip your ass in getting the task at hand done. I have one such friend, bless her. If not for her, I would not be here.

Here it is, folks. My top tips for HOW TO BEAT PROCRASTINATION:

1. Hire a Project Manager to kick your ass. If you want, you can hire me. My fee varies from job to job, task to task, versus timeline.

2. Treat Yourself after the dreaded deed is done. Hmmm……a millionaire to fund my Children of Myanmar Trust Fund would be nice?

3. Give yourself a timeline and stick with it. No excuses. If it is sleep you will lose, so be it. Thus why I am still here at 2 fucking 50 A-M.

4. Set your alarm clock so you are reminded that the clock is ticking. This really works. I have set my clock to every 20 minutes before during meetings and it allowed me to finish the meetings at exactly the time frame that I wanted. You will just work faster or slower every time the damn alarm rings.

5. Change the Scenery. This really works as well. Sometimes we just get so bored of the same old space that you’d be surprised how efficient and/or creative you could suddenly be should you move. Perfect example was when I brought my home-schooled kids out to the garden for 3 hours. They got hell more done on the grass than on their desks at home. Cue now’s the time to move my A4 pile of paper to………my bed? The toilet? Kitchen floor? Back to the drawing board.

6. Break it up. Sometimes a task is so big that you keep putting it off longer and longer but let’s say you told yourself to just do 10 minutes of it every day, set a timer, you will be surprised when the task gets completed one day. It may take a little longer but HEY, IT’S DONE!!!

7. Get rid of your phone when it is TASK TIME. This means no facebook, no phone calls, no checking emails, no chatting to people around you. Just get it done. Yup, like NIKE. JUST DO IT.

8. Make the task space not only comfortable but perfect, whatever your current definition of perfect is. It could be working with your favourite play lists, coupled with some favourite photos, a glass of your favourite drink, favourite snack, fresh flowers, inspirational quotes, whatever.

9. Set Daily or Weekly Goals – this is amazingly useful. I tried this on T1 and it worked perfectly. I told her for each goal you achieve, you get RM1 for a maximum of 5 approved (read: noteworthy) goals daily and she has been so excited to earn her own money from achieving her own goals! What more, every since she joined MONEY TREE, where she learns the lowdown and highups of MONEY, she is ever excited about how money makes the world go round. What are my goals for tomorrow then?

A – To clear my desk. Bahahahaha!!!!

B – To finish up the filing of taxes

C – To finish up my work expenses

D – To start a packing list for our long holiday

E – To START finalising the bookings for that long holiday

F – To plan out a schedule over the next 2 weeks since I have to travel for work

G – Darn, the list is getting too long so we’ll stop right here and continue that TO DO list later……

10. Conquer your fears. Sometimes we procrastinate because we are afraid to fail. I always remember the time at University when I was in my 2nd year and going through depression. I did not want to find out what my results were for year end because I was so sure I’d failed. Why? Depression does that to you!!! So I just kept procrastinating and not going in to find out what my results were, chose not to call my tutor for the longest time, till one day, someone kicked my ass and I finally did the dreaded deed and guess what? Far from fail I was. Chis. What a bloody waste of time and energy that was.

So that’s it. My advice on How to beat procrastination but don’t take it from me since I am the Number One procrastinator in Kuala Lumpur. But you know what? After writing this post? I am inspired!!!

Don’t ever settle for anything less than THE BEST for yourselves, folks. You can do it. How to beat procrastination. I know I can. I am going to do it tomorrow and YOU CAN TOO. I have every faith in you.

 

Women are Hormonal

Women are hormonal. Yes, we are. It isn’t our fault. It’s just the way God made us. What does that mean though?

It means that there are certain times throughout the year where we can flip and go bat shit crazy. We could lose it and throw every porcelain plate in sight and scream like our hair’s being pulled with a strong jerk, we could cry hours for no bloody reason and eat chocolate cake like we’ve been starved.

This is NORMAL. No, really.

Women are hormonal and we have hormonal imbalances to blame. It is amazing just how many hormones we have and how they all make up a women. I myself have gone for a hormone test at Pantai, paid lots of money, only to find out that I was normal. Being crazy and unstable is normal!!! If you have a wife who’s been really nice and pretty year in year out, you’d better double check that you haven’t been fucking a transvestite.

Women are hormonal. I am a woman. Hear me roar!!!

BYOB Damansara Kim – A labour of love by a passionate Mom

BYOB Damansara Kim is truly a labour of love by a passionate Mom………..TOTALLY.

What exactly is BYOB – Bring Your Own Boob? Bring Your Own Banana? Bring Your Own Buddy? Bring Your Own Bake? Bring Your Own Booze? It is exactly……BRING. YOUR. OWN. BOTTLE.

Not the alcoholic kind of bottle but an EMPTY bottle.

What for?

BYOB will refill all your empty bottles with almost everything you use in your household such as dish washing liquid, laundry liquid, hand soap, shower gel, floor cleaners, toilet cleaners, you name it.

This is their entrance at Damansara Kim, a very accessible and easy to find little shop.

Quietly located at Jalan SS20/11 (Same row as Euro Deli), PJ, it is literally across the highway from Taman Tun Dr Ismail and the lovely Mom who owns the shop is contactable on 012-245 5480 if you need more directions. Oh, and you might want to make an effort to pay for the road side parking right in front of the shop because they do come round to fine you as I have learnt the hard way. I didn’t even see those machines but no excuse.

See the robot above? It was made with 100% fully recyclable materials – an old dustbin, old tin cans, petrol bottles, etc etc etc. Don’t you think he is so cute!? Awesome!

Check out these prices below. Compare them to your current household detergents. My loot has lasted all of 6 months and I paid something ridiculous like under RM50 for hand liquid soap, shower gel, stain remover, floor cleaner, dish washing liquid, toilet cleaner, cannot remember what else now. Sorry.

But the point actually is not to save money but to save the planet. After all, what do you think we will be leaving behind for our future generations to come? It may not affect you in your life time but it will start to impact your kids and their future lineage, for sure. Unless you think the world will come to a crumbling end real soon?

Come on, people. Get responsible and lead by example. Make your next household detergent purchase at BYOB to save our planet.

I loved how everything in the BYOB store was DIY, such as the lighting made with old Campbell Soup cans……

Prices of stuff above and below for your research and planning. Only cash please. As for the quality of the products from BYOB, they have generic stuff from wholesale suppliers the same as what you get from your regular supermarkets except that here, the unnecessary chemicals are removed from the mixtures enabling it to be more biodegradable so less harmful towards our Planet Earth. Thus, they will tend to have less soapy suds and less fragrance, might even feel more dilute. However, they also have an ‘organic’ range that is certified natural and plant based that is imported from Australia which is of course, more expensive. The real objective is to RE-USE your bottles. In return, you save cost from packaging and marketing and branding AND help preserve our environment.

They have everything including laundry stuff, pet stuff and car stuff so you have no excuse. Just GO. The bottles that house all these household products are usually made from very strong quality plastic and can last hundreds of years. The more we buy from supermarkets, the more the big boys make them and the more plastic we have filling up this world.

I go to the BYOB at Damansara Kim branch because the passionate Mom I was talking about? The labour of her love is right there. She runs the shop, has 2 young girls like me, runs an entire household without a maid, and still makes time to grow organic crop in her garden. That, to me, is amazing. She totally deserves all the sales she can get from doing a good thing and I am making it my mission to educate you lot to become more green. Start caring about the environment, people. It will affect you one day and if you do not care, it is going to come back to bite you. Just mark my words.

Just look at those colours and the plants in recycled water bottles? So, SO pretty………..

And this is she! That passionate Mom I was talking about…….a good heart always works with me.

Whilst I made my order, my kids entertained themselves exploring the cool, recycled everything shop. All furniture at the shop is also recycled and DIY.

Below are the containers for the liquids……simple tap on tap off system.

More storage on them liquids…..it’s a kids playground in there!

Lots of supply to move for a good cause.

On the walls are reminders – Do you want your kids to swim in this? Please google the Yamuna River in New Delhi. Look at the imagery. Show your kids. Tell them that if they do not look after our planet, we would all be swimming in this shit one day. It’s true.

Where do all our garbage go? Nowhere. So please stop creating more and more garbage! If you are not sure, again please consult Mr Google and youtube with your kids – Where do our garbage go? The problem with Landfills.

It really isn’t a case of out of sight out of mind because believe you me, there are severe consequences that will affect our children and grandchildren and beyond.

Every time, Tok-Tok goes to a beach or a hillside, we go on a garbage picking session. Seriously. You should do that with your kids too. Lead by example. Nobody likes picking garbage but do it anyway because once you set a trend, the rest will follow. People need to be educated that we should never throw garbage on the street anyway and in the first place, stop consuming bloody garbage! If you can do away with more plastic, do away with it. STOP.

Plastic really is our worst enemy. It takes 450 years to get rid of them in its entirety. So can you just imagine? Do the math. Do we really need more plastic? Stop buying anything plastic if you can help it.

Not only is plastic a nuisance, it kills our entire ecology system slowly but surely. Then what? It will ALL affect us. Maybe not us directly, but certainly our children and grandchildren and beyond.

These kids below? They are taught about the ways in which to preserve the environment because they know that it is their world that they will see in the future.

Join us in our activist stance in preserving our beautiful planet. Do good. Stop adding to world problems. Do your bit. Go get your household detergents from BYOB Damansara KIM – a labour of love by a passionate Mom. Go. GO!!!

When we care, others start caring too. And in this circle of life, everything comes full circle.

Creating Music

Creating music is one of my long lost passions. Yes, really. When I was young, I’d compose music on the piano and make up my own lyrics because I learnt the piano but not till I was 16 did I get to cut my first music on tape thanks to my job at a music jingles studio. I composed that song, recorded it with the help of my boss on a Presonus, then gave it to my then boyfriend and never made a copy. Stupid or what??? Now, my only professional song that I’ve ever composed is gone!!! Gone forever since he no longer talks to me……

Ferragamo in Pavilion Mall

Pink Ferragamo Scarf in Malaysia

I must say it, the service staff at Ferragamo in Pavilion Mall are impeccable. I went to Ferragamo on the same day at KLCC and they were not as excellent as the staff at Pavilion. The consistency is amazing. And the evidence is that exactly 1.5 years ago, I went there to make some purchases and still remember them as being crazy excellent – you can read about my then experience here at Ferragamo in Pavilion Mall July 2012.

I am a bloody difficult customer because I test all the time. Freaking hell, if I’m going to pay you thousands of dollars then I expect some thousand dollar service. It’s not me being a snob. It’s me giving where it is deserved. Did Ferragamo at KLCC get a single penny out of me? No. Ferragamo in Pavilion Mall on the other hand? There’s this lady called Alys (yes, I saw her name tag) who was so patient with me. She must’ve spent an entire hour, maybe more with me just looking at bags, belts, scarves, key chains, shoes…..taking everything in and out, in and out, repeat.

She had patience and always with a smile. If someone could do that without a huff, they deserved some gratitude. I wouldn’t say all the staff at Ferragamo in Pavilion Mall were excellent though, just that I was always lucky to get the right one. There was an instance where Alys couldn’t get a key chain out of the stand and after a slightly long time, I tried in a different way and did it, one of the other sales staff (maybe the manager or supervisor, who knows?) gave her a disapproving look and signaled ‘idiot’. Everyone makes mistakes, right? I was not pissed and I was the customer, why should she get pissed?

Anyway, Ferragamo owner in Malaysia (not sure if both outlets are yours), I just wanted to commend Alys who made your sales for today. If it wasn’t for her, I would not have spent any money in there. If you are in Malaysia and want to get some Ferragamo, be sure to go to the Ferragamo in Pavilion Mall.

 

Spotify is so cool!

Spotify is so cool! Thank you, Kiersten, for introducing it to me! I love it. I’ve been spending a lot of time on this new cool app, baybeh! I am really learning so much about music from all over the world of every genre, it really is so super cool! What would we do without music, eh? Now I’m so tempted to ensure it becomes a part of my every day life. It even has classic ebtech effects at musicians friend I am sure!

A wonderful Sunday

My version of a wonderful Sunday is when I have no commitments. This means no party to go to, no function, no event, no kids activity, no replacement class, zilch. And today was just one such Sunday………….What a wonderful Sunday it was.

We left the home bright and early to go window shopping at KLCC to wash my eyes at Balenciaga, followed by Prada, Ferragamo, Paul Smith, then very efficiently proceeded to Pavillion for more eye candy. Parking at KLCC cost only RM4 just to show how efficient I was…….I know, this makes me sound like a real superficial materialistic air-head Tai-Tai but believe me, there was a very reason for all this. Of course, it was a very good reason. *shifty eyes darting left and right*

At Pavi, we had lunch at T1′s favourite Japanese Ramen Noodle place where they make their own noodles and T2 was throwing a hissy fit, OK, I exaggerate, it was just a sulk because she wanted to eat at Nandos (ewe! No offense Sean and Mac) where Uncle Ben was (entertaining guests who wanted to eat Nandos!) and nobody wanted to bring her to Nandos. LOL!

After lunch, she had Baskin! What a treat! Throws a fit and still gets Baskin! There’s something about this child who’s blessed with Princess Luck. Somehow or other, she knows how to get what she wants, just somehow, whether it be from any one of us or others. Sigh. No wonder T1 gets so exasperated with her. My darling T1.

Ferragamo Batik in rose pink Malaysia

After Baskin, I went to Hermes, Prada (again), Mulberry, Bottega, Giuseppe, Ferragamo (again! and fell in love with the Batik bag above, such coincidence when just last week we were at a Batik factory in Kelantan) and it was such fun. Of course, if I was tall and leggy like Bar Rafeali, it would have been even better but no, I only thudded in in my denim shorts and thong sandals looking very……….desperate. Surprisingly, I didn’t invade DVF nor BCBG because I told myself enough clothes until I break my 8kg mark for real. If the 8kg stays off for an entire month, then I can go shopping and then work the next 8kg. No, seriously. I need to lose almost 30kg. Groan.

The happiest thing for me though was meeting a young blog reader at a secret Pavi hide-out, The EspressoLab. Yes!!! And when she told me she’d been reading my blog since she was a teenager these last 3 years, I was gobsmacked. Heck, she’s still a teenager!!! I thought my readers were run of the mill moms just like myself so was extremely thrilled to know that I had readers below 20!! WOW, Hannah, you’ve made my day!!! I forgot to get your number so please email it to me?

And speaking of Hannah, I would also like to take the opportunity to wish another beautiful Hannah, a very, very, VERY, VERYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY Happy Birthday today!!!!! THANK YOU to you both tudung Hannah’s for dancing gracefully into my life. I am truly blessed and always believe that everything happens for a reason.

Hannah Dearest,

There are no words to describe the flutter that you bring to my heart so please know that it beats together with yours. As much as I love her, I always feel like an idiot in wanting to show her just how much I do. It is a complicated relationship because she for some reason won’t allow me to do what I want to do and this leaves me extremely frustrated, sometimes fed up, sometimes angry; so the gratitude that I amass when you do what you do is insurmountable. Since I cannot give to her what I want to give, you remove a portion of that guilt. I feel at peace that I have you for her and for me.

Everything happens for a reason. God always has his reasons……

Colourful writing of Allah in Jawi (Arabic)

So I dedicate this to you on your Birthday, a poem by Joanna Fuchs:

Some people give the gift of peace and tranquility to every life they touch
They are always who they really are.
They are blessedly reliable, dependably good, predictably pleasant, loved and treasured by all who know them.
You are one of those people.
You are a gift of peace and tranquility in my life.

Happy Birthday, Hannah.

The world of music

Do you know that the world of music is just so, so big? You could focus on one tiny section of music and still, you could spend your entire life just learning it and becoming a pro at it. There is the theory bits and there is the practical, then there is the actual experimentation of instruments and gadgets, technology is just so amazing. Like, would you know the first thing to buy ashdown effects at musicians friend?

Addiction to Scramble

I will admit it. I have an addiction to Scramble. What is Scramble? It is a Word Game on the iPhone where you have to make up words really fast against the clock. 2 minutes. That’s all you have. And I play it with my facebook friends of whoever is free to play. I love it because it de-stresses me and it give me a challenge and it gives me a buzz but there is this one bitch that I just cannot beat. Harumphhh.

Orientating New Employees

Next week, I will have to orientate a new girl starting with us and I have not done my homework. Well, it should really be the HR’s job but as it is, I am the HR for Malaysia. I am everything for Malaysia although it is conveyed that I can get support from our Regional Headquarters. However the reality is pretty much I do everything myself as this is Malaysia and they do not have a clue how things work in Malaysia. So I just get on with it……

Musical Instrument Gadgets

You know how if you learn the violin, there is an option to buy a shoulder rest to enable violin holding easier and less tiring. However, when T1 first learnt the violin, her teacher said she shouldn’t use it because it would cause her to be dependent on it and true violin players do not wear violin rests. I used to date a saxophonist and have always been fearful that one of my girls decide to play a blowing instrument. If that is the case, I would be asked to buy a trombone mouthpiece!

T2 in her Dutch Milk Maid Costume

Little Asian Girl in Dutch costume

Last year, T2 actually went to school and enjoyed it till the last month when she suddenly decided that she no longer wanted to go to school. The poor girl, she couldn’t even participate in her own school concert because we had to go to Australia for holiday and the dates clashed. But we got to at least see her full dress rehearsal!!! She was not happy.

Guitar Sound Boosters

When we organised the Children of Myanmar event last year, we needed an amplifier and at that time, I did not even know what the heck an amplifier was. That’s why folks, if you have the chance to do something, anything, even if you thought it was a dirty job, do it. Because the amount you learn from doing things is amazing. Unfortunately many adults from the Gen Y and Gen X generation don’t like getting their hands dirty. They just want to do what they think is honourable. What? Take out the trash? No, we have cleaners for that. Little do they know what valuable learning they can get from the more stuff they do. These days, I even know what a great xotic effects ep booster is. Beat that.

Women Achieving Continuous Growth

When mothers first become mothers, it is difficult for women achieving continuous growth within themselves because they are just too damn busy with caring for the kids but eventually, it is important for women to strive to achieve continuous growth in whatever direction they wish to grow in. There is always room for growth in everyone. There is always something more to learn, something more to do, something better you can do. I, for one, believe in women achieving continuous growth and encourage the people around me to do the same.

This year, I have decided to take on the CRAZY task of learning Mandarin after years of telling myself I would never bother. Never. So never say never. Why have I said never? Because for an over the hill person like me who has a brain of zero memory capacity, I have no faith that I can learn the language. But then my 70 year old Dad did it. He had no knowledge of Mandarin before but out of pure interest, he learnt it within 2-3 years and can now read fluently and learn the rich authentic Chinese culture that comes with only knowing the language well. So, I have thrown the boomerang out and am hoping it does not come back to hit me. Wish me luck on that. I start next week. All in the name of women achieving continuous growth.

Another thing I am doing is learning Adobe Illustrator (an illustration software), something I have wanted to do for the last 10 years. Yes, I really want to know how to represent my ideas graphically since I’m such a crap free hand artist, so yeah. I have finally been blessed to find a tutor who will come to my house to teach me just that. I had my first lesson yesterday and it was great!!! He is a fantastic teacher but I am such a slowwwwwwwwwwwwww student. I can hardly remember anything that he teaches. Sigh. A clear sign of old age. Seriously. But I will persist and practise or my name is not ……….

That is my aim to achieve continuous growth this year. And of course, the perennial goal of losing weight. I don’t even bother mentioning that anymore. It will happen when it happens. It will only happen when I go on more juice fasts and eat very, very little. That I have learnt thanks to my good friend, who is an inspiration for me to stay on track to achieve continuous growth.

Women achieving continuous growth, it is a must. So you feel your soul grow with you…….

Vocal Lessons

T1 used to take vocal lessons, would you believe it? Yes, she loves singing and has a loud voice and has always been put right in front at all her school’s concerts, even the mini ones, oh, they have SO MANY concerts within the year. Sometimes, we parents aren’t even informed about it but the kids put up loads of these mini concerts to celebrate the many diversities in Malaysia. At one point, I considered getting her an affordable rainbow vocal machine to correct her pitch. Hahaha.

Supporting your kids school Sports Day

Kids Sports Day at Cempaka Schools

Ever since T1 was born, we have attended every single Sports Day that she has ever had. No matter what. We just drop everything. Supporting your kids school sports day is extremely important especially if your kid has a role, even if it is the flag carrier or the rubbish picker; no matter how small the role is. T1 has, of course, always been a key player thus far participating in kiddy telematches during her lower primary years and ALWAYS winning GOLD. Every single year. She is SO competitive, that girl, it scares me. Her determination is remarkably impressive when it is for something that she wants yet if it is for something that she doesn’t care about, forget it. No amount of money or kisses, could make her eat durian.

Supporting your kids school sports day offers ample of confidence boosters towards the kid, injected into their self esteem bank. It is no secret that the most successful people in the world are those who are confident in themselves, not the skilled experts, and to be truly happy, one needs healthy doses of self esteem. So, hot as it may be, uncomfortable and tiring, go!! Even if you have to drive 100km for it. Go. And please, do not discourage your kid to participate in their Sports Day because you are too lazy to attend their Sports Day? I know parents who do that. If it is important to your kid, please support him or her. The little effort that you make will go a long, long way. Trust me on that.

My own mother never attended a single sports day of mine that I can remember. In fact, I only remember my Dad attending some and I do remember being the star at every concert too without Mom around. She was never interested and as a child, I always wondered why I wasn’t good enough, important enough for her. Who knows why she didn’t make an appearance. I don’t judge either and at this stage, I cannot even be bothered to ask. But yes, up to University level, she was still not interested in any of the work I had done, anything I had achieved, nothing. It killed a part of me.

I do not want that for my kids so I put full effort into supporting my own kids School Sports Day. I think it is very important. So will you be supporting your kids school sports day this year? We always go all decked in BLUE.

Electric Violins

The electric violins first became famous when Vanessa Mae hit it with her magic. Right now, my 2 girls are stagnant with their violin but it is only a matter of time that I can predict that T2 will ask me for a new electric violin to emulate Vanessa Mae! Already she is dancing and singing like a true exhibitionist performer though only behind closed doors to the tunes of Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne and Alanis Morisette. The father is so dead.

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